With the launch of the Plesk eCommerce Toolkit, online store owners like you have the opportunity to access tools that make it faster and easier to start selling online, directly through your own website.
Through the toolkit, many functions are available for the configuration of your eCommerce store. In this guide, we will take you through how you can set up the first version of your online store and present it to your customers today!
So let’s get started on setting up your virtual store:
Using the set-up assistant
The setup assistant starts automatically when you open your online shop dashboard for the first time. You use this assistant to define the most important online store settings. You can change these settings later.
1) In the Plesk Extension Catalog, open the Plesk eCommerce Toolkit.
2) Use the set-up assistant to define the most important settings for your online store.
Managing your Catalog
In the Catalog tab in your eCommerce Toolkit Dashboard, you can manage your products.
1) In the menu, select Catalog > Products
2) Click the Add New Product button.
3) Enter the name, description, and other product details:
Define whether the product is to be visible in the online store.
We recommend that you do not make the product visible for now. This enables you to edit the product before visitors see it in your online store.
Specify a price for the product. Click Save.
4) Click Preview Product to see how this product will look in your online store. When you are ready to publish your product, you can make it ‘Visible’.
Recommendations: You have successfully added a product to your store. To add many products at once, you can upload products in bulk using a CSV-formatted import file.
If you use a point of sale, like Square POS, Clover POS, Vend POS, you can connect them to the eCommerce Toolkit and transfer the products to your online store.
When you add several similar products at once, duplication can help speed up the entry process and save you time. By copying a product, you can modify specific changes instead of repeatedly filling out the product information.
- Open the product you want to duplicate.
- Click Duplicate Product
Importing products is a quick way of uploading your product data from another eCommerce site, updating your product catalog with new arrivals, or making multiple changes to existing inventory.
Make sure to add a Name, SKU and Description to your product. You can also add Images. Don’t forget to set a Price and whether Shipping is required or not (if it is, set a weight). If you have all the info you need, you can hit Save in the top right corner.
In case you have multiple similar products you can utilize the Duplicate Product to make the process faster.
TIP: If you want to add options to a product, such as color or size, add a variation to the existing product instead of duplicating the product.
Adding a digital product
In addition to physical products, you can sell downloadable items such as e-books, photos, music, video tutorials, and more, in your store.
When you add a product to your store, you can upload a file that will be delivered to customers automatically via unique download links after they make a purchase.
Your customer will automatically receive the download link for the ordered product as soon as the order status becomes ‘Paid’.
The Plesk eCommerce Toolkit takes care of hosting your digital items and digital delivery. You can add as many files per product as you need, and every file can be up to 25 GB.
TIP: For testing the order process, make sure to change the status of your test order to Paid so that you can receive the download link.
Accepting bookings is ideal for small businesses or individuals who take appointments such as DJs, babysitters, interior decorators, rental services, photographers and others.
The booking process can be automated to save time and and avoid unnecessarily emails and phone calls. All you have to do is integrate your synced online calendar to your product page.
To accept booking by integrating Google calendar to your product page:
- Start by adding your service to your store. Then head over to Options and add a ‘Date picker’ input type and name the option ‘Date’.
- Add a second option named ‘Time’ that consists of a simple text field. This is where your client can let you know the time at which they wish to meet with you.
- Make sure both of these options are marked as required options.
Localizing your store
Next you might want to set up some Regional settings, like currency, weight, size and languages. Go to Settings and General and select your preferred settings.
A couple of words about storefront languages: by default, the browser will recognize the language of each visitor. Non-product texts will be displayed in this language, but your product’s information (the ones you entered) will remain in their original language.
However, you can determine which language is the default language or which languages are allowed to be displayed at all. Under Manage Languages you can choose between several languages or decide to deactivate all except one (English is default).
Adding Payment Options
In the Payment tab you can add or remove methods your customer can use to purchase a product of yours. You can use whatever you are familiar with. Usually it is a good idea to offer a wide variety of payment options.
You can offer your customers a number of different payment methods, e. g. Payment in advance, invoice or direct debit, or payment via a third-party provider, such as PayPal.
TOP TIP: Reach more customers. Earn more revenue! EVO Payments is your partner for all services that make your payment transactions safer, simpler, and more efficient. A team of experienced specialists and an outstanding technical platform provide the foundation for excellent solutions with simple, fast, and secure handling of payment processes. Plesk doesn’t charge any transaction fees, no matter how many sales you make. You only have to cover the payment provider fees. To get started, select EVO Payments in the Plesk eCommerce Toolkit panel via the ‘Payments’ tab.
Adding Shipping Options
Under Shipping & Pickup you can choose the ways you can get your products to your customers.
This will likely influence the final pricing. Again, choose what suits you best.
You can edit and change those settings at any time.
TIP: Statistically, shipping cost is one of the main reasons why shoppers abandon shopping carts.
Consider offering free shipping whenever you can to increase conversion in your online store. Usually the cost of shopping is almost negligible for domestic orders, especially if your margin is high and you’re shipping products that do not require extra packaging or handling. To compensate for your shipping expenses, you can slightly increase your product prices.
Style your store
You can change the logo, colors, and web font to make your online store fit your company’s brand. Consistent branding builds trust with your customers, which makes them more likely to buy.
Customize your store further with our new Store tab in your theme settings. Here you can adjust colors, font settings, links, borders and more for all your store elements.
Taxation rules differ depending on the country where the online business is based — tax rates can depend on types of products, your business location, consumers’ location, and more. For example, merchants that sell e-goods to customers in the EU, should charge taxes on digital products.
There are two ways to set up taxes in your store:
Automatic taxes. They are available for merchants in the USA, the EU, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Automatic taxes provide up-to-date standard rates across the store and can be enabled in one button click.If automatic taxes are not available for your country or you sell differently taxed products, you can configure taxes manually.
TIP: Check with your local tax experts whether you sell taxable goods and what are the tax rates associated with them before moving forward with online sales.
For automatic import of order data for accountancy, you can connect your store with Quickbooks, Xero or Freshbooks accounting software (integration with these services is available in the form of apps from the app marketplace.)
Otherwise you can export the order data from your store to a CSV file, then import the downloaded CSV file into your accounting software or send it to an accountant that handles it for you. You can also open the file in a spreadsheet and summarize the numbers manually if you like.
TIP: With automatic taxes, US merchants can also get sales tax report and file taxes via the TaxJar app.
Bear in mind that while making any changes, you can edit and change these settings at any time.
If you don’t want your customers to see live changes, you can set your store to Maintenance mode in the Settings tab.
You have successfully created the first version of your online store, thereby establishing the basis for a successful online presence! From now on, your customers can access your online store at your domain.
Above are just some of the functions of your online store on the Plesk eCommerce Toolkit. There are many other exciting functions to explore, such as:
- Offer bundles/groups of different items
- Transfer product data from your POS to your online store
- Comfortably manage orders and customer details in your online store
- Use the newsletter tool to send marketing newsletters
- Promote your items on Google product pages, as well as eBay and Amazon
- Integrate with Facebook and Instagram shops to build a social selling strategy